South Leigh Seasonal Recipes

Four simple-to-make summer recipes, using the freshest seasonal ingredients - what could be more delicious? E.L.
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Pea Pesto (Serves 4)

300g fresh peas (podded) or frozen peas
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
40-50g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
50ml olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
40g pine nuts, lightly toasted

If using fresh peas, tip them into boiling water and cook for a maximum of two minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the peas and garlic together until they are slightly pulverised. Add the parmesan, oil, mustard and pine nuts and blend again until you achieve the texture you want - smooth or slightly chunky. Serve warm or cold.
  • Add a handful of finely chopped mint to the finished pesto.
  • Double the amount of olive oil to the mixture to create a pesto sauce which is great with pasta.
  • Use as a dip or as a topping for bruschetta.
Smoked Paprika Baked Salmon (Serves 4)

4 x 120 - 150g salmon fillets, skinned
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
1 tablespoon zaatar, optional
olive oil

Heat the oven to 200ºC / Gas 6. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Spread the paprika and zaatar, if using, onto a plate and press each salmon fillet into the mix until evenly coated in the spices. Lay the fillets on a parchment-lined baking tray and drizzle each fillet with a little olive oil.

Bake the salmon for 10 - 12 minutes and serve on a bed of pea pesto (see above) or with a simple green salad.
Panzanella (Serves 4)

Italians buy fresh bread daily, so making this Tuscan salad is a traditional way to use up day-old bread. Use a good quality, open-textured, rustic-style loaf and also really fresh tomatoes - the ones from your garden with that heady tomato scent would be perfect.

4 thick slices of crusty, rustic-style bread
1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved
400 - 500g fresh tomatoes
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into crescents
1 small cucumber, seeds removed
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper
A large bunch of fresh basil

Heat the oven to 170ºC. Place the bread on a wire rack and bake for 8 minutes. When cool rub each piece with the cut garlic clove then tear the bread into chunks. Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into chunks of a similar size then combine with the bread in a large salad bowl.
Mix together the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad, scatter over the torn basil leaves and mix well. Check the seasoning then cover and leave at room temperature for an hour or so to give the bread time to soak up all the lovely tomato juices before serving.
Salsa Verde (Serves 4)

Use handfuls of garden herbs to make this vibrant green, fresh tasting accompaniment that is wonderful with all sorts of summer foods. Enjoy with grilled or roast meats, fish and seafood or with slices of grilled halloumi cheese. It's also good with new potatoes or just a crusty baguette.

Leaves picked from about 30g flat leaf parsley
Leaves picked from about 30g fresh mint
Large handful rocket
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons capers in vinegar, drained
30g anchovies, drained
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed with a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
150 ml extra virgin olive oil

For a smooth salsa: Using a food processor or blender, roughly chop all the green leaves. Add the mustard, capers, anchovies, garlic and red wine vinegar and blitz again until the herbs are well chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and blend until you have a bright green sauce.

For a chunkier salsa: Finely chop the parsley, mint and rocket by hand. In a pestle and mortar pound the anchovies, garlic and capers, then add the mustard and vinegar and transfer to a larger bowl. Stir in the chopped herbs then gradually whisk in the olive oil.